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Famous Confusion Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Confusion poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous confusion poems. These examples illustrate what a famous confusion poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...en to pieces


Comfort is none, but in you, Lady dear!
For lo! my sin and my confusion,
Which ought not in thy presence to appear,
Have ta'en on me a grievous action,*                            *control
Of very right and desperation!
And, as by right, they mighte well sustene
That I were worthy my damnation,
Ne were it mercy of you, blissful Queen!


Doubt is there none, Queen of miser...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...Beautiful city

Beautiful city, the centre and crater of European confusion,
O you with your passionate shriek for the rights of an equal
How often your Re-volution has proven but E-volution
Roll’d again back on itself in the tides of a civic insanity!...Read more of this...

by Pope, Alexander
...h, breaks the chain alike. 
And if each system in gradation roll, 
Alike essential to th' amazing whole; 
The least confusion but in one, not all 
That system only, but the whole must fall. 
Let Earth unbalanc'd from her orbit fly, 
Planets and Suns run lawless thro' the sky, 
Let ruling Angels from their spheres be hurl'd, 
Being on being wreck'd, and world on world, 
Heav'n's whole foundations to their centre nod, 
And Nature tremble to the throne of God: 
All this ...Read more of this...

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...sped some fragments of playthings.

Thus to the Gaspereau's mouth they hurried; and there on the sea-beach
Piled in confusion lay the household goods of the peasants.
All day long between the shore and the ships did the boats ply;
All day long the wains came laboring down from the village.
Late in the afternoon, when the sun was near to his setting,
Echoed far o'er the fields came the roll of drums from the churchyard.
Thither the women and children thronged.<...Read more of this...

by Carver, Raymond
...die before I do, and I'll feel guilty.
Fear of having to live with my mother in her old age, and mine.
Fear of confusion.
Fear this day will end on an unhappy note.
Fear of waking up to find you gone.
Fear of not loving and fear of not loving enough.
Fear that what I love will prove lethal to those I love.
Fear of death.
Fear of living too long.
Fear of death.

I've said that....Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord) Lara's numbers clung: 
But that vain victory hath ruin'd all; 
They form no longer to their leader's call: 
In blind confusion on the foe they press, 
And think to snatch is to secure success. 
The lust of booty, and the thirst of hate, 
Lure on the broken brigands to their fate: 
In vain he doth whate'er a chief may do, 
To check the headlong fury of that crew, 
In vain their stubborn ardour he would tame, 
The hand that kindles cannot quench the flame. 
The wary ...Read more of this...

by Marvell, Andrew
...Castle's ill-deserted wall, 
Now needful, does for ammunition call. 
He finds, wheres'e'er he succor might expect, 
Confusion, folly, treach'ry, fear, neglect. 
But when the Royal Charles (what rage, what grief) 
He saw seized, and could give her no relief! 
That sacred keel which had, as he, restored 
His exiled sovereign on its happy board, 
And thence the British Admiral became, 
Crowned, for that merit, with their master's name; 
That pleasure-boat of war, in whos...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
..., and with repenting hand 
Abolish his own works. This would surpass 
Common revenge, and interrupt his joy 
In our confusion, and our joy upraise 
In his disturbance; when his darling sons, 
Hurled headlong to partake with us, shall curse 
Their frail original, and faded bliss-- 
Faded so soon! Advise if this be worth 
Attempting, or to sit in darkness here 
Hatching vain empires." Thus beelzebub 
Pleaded his devilish counsel--first devised 
By Satan, and in part pro...Read more of this...

by Milton, John were to tell 
What I have done; what suffered;with what pain 
Voyaged th' unreal, vast, unbounded deep 
Of horrible confusion; over which 
By Sin and Death a broad way now is paved, 
To expedite your glorious march; but I 
Toiled out my uncouth passage, forced to ride 
The untractable abyss, plunged in the womb 
Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild; 
That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely opposed 
My journey strange, with clamorous uproar 
Protesting Fate supreme; thence ...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
...shall e're long receive
Such a discomfit, as shall quite despoil him
Of all these boasted Trophies won on me, 
And with confusion blank his Worshippers.

Man: With cause this hope relieves thee, and these words
I as a Prophecy receive: for God,
Nothing more certain, will not long defer
To vindicate the glory of his name
Against all competition, nor will long
Endure it, doubtful whether God be Lord,
Or Dagon. But for thee what shall be done?
Thou must not in the mean w...Read more of this...

by Ashbery, John
...been like this.
I used to think they were all alike,
That the present always looked the same to everybody
But this confusion drains away as one
Is always cresting into one's present.
Yet the "poetic," straw-colored space
Of the long corridor that leads back to the painting,
Its darkening opposite--is this
Some figment of "art," not to be imagined
As real, let alone special? Hasn't it too its lair
In the present we are always escaping from
And falling back into, as th...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
Depriving me of my best, as for a purpose, 
Unbuttoning my clothes, holding me by the bare waist, 
Deluding my confusion with the calm of the sunlight and pasture-fields,
Immodestly sliding the fellow-senses away, 
They bribed to swap off with touch, and go and graze at the edges of me; 
No consideration, no regard for my draining strength or my anger; 
Fetching the rest of the herd around to enjoy them a while, 
Then all uniting to stand on a headland and worry...Read more of this...

by von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang
...desty cannot avail them aught here,
They shake themselves all, and the shrouds soon appear

Scatter'd over the tombs in confusion.

Now waggles the leg, and now wriggles the thigh,

As the troop with strange gestures advance,
And a rattle and clatter anon rises high,

As of one beating time to the dance.
The sight to the warder seems wondrously *****,
When the villainous Tempter speaks thus in his ear:

"Seize one of the shrouds that lie yonder!"

Quick as thought it ...Read more of this...

by Goldsmith, Oliver
The watchdog's voice that bayed the whisp'ring wind,
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind;
These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
And filled each pause the nightingale had made.
But now the sounds of population fail,
No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,
No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread,
For all the bloomy flush of life is fled.
All but yon widowed, solitary thing,
That feebly bends beside the plashy spring;
She, wretched matron, forc...Read more of this...

by Bridges, Robert Seymour strong. 
But seeing thee with me now, his task at close
He knoweth, and wherefore he was bid to stay,
And work confusion of so many foes:
The thanks that he doth look for, here I pay,
Yet fear some heavenly envy, as he goes
Unto what great reward I cannot say. 

I will be what God made me, nor protest
Against the bent of genius in my time,
That science of my friends robs all the best,
While I love beauty, and was born to rhyme.
Be they our mighty men, and ...Read more of this...

by Chaucer, Geoffrey I was bore!
How longe, Juno, through thy cruelty
Wilt thou warrayen* Thebes the city? *torment
Alas! y-brought is to confusion
The blood royal of Cadm' and Amphion:
Of Cadmus, which that was the firste man,
That Thebes built, or first the town began,
And of the city first was crowned king.
Of his lineage am I, and his offspring
By very line, as of the stock royal;
And now I am *so caitiff and so thrall*, *wretched and enslaved*
That he that is my mortal enemy,
I serve ...Read more of this...

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
...eason too for pride 
In being what he must have been by laws 
Infrangible and for no kind of cause. 
Deterred by no confusion or surprise
He may have seen with his mechanic eyes 
A world without a meaning, and had room, 
Alone amid magnificence and doom, 
To build himself an airy monument 
That should, or fail him in his vague intent,
Outlast an accidental universe— 
To call it nothing worse— 
Or, by the burrowing guile 
Of Time disintegrated and effaced, 
Like once-remem...Read more of this...

by Strand, Mark
...were a perfect moment in the book,
it would be the last.
The book never discusses the causes of love.
It claims confusion is a necessary good.
It never explains. It only reveals.

The day goes on.
We study what we remember.
We look into the mirror across the room.
We cannot bear to be alone.
The book goes on.
"They became silent and did not know how to begin
the dialogue which was necessary.
It was words that created divisions in ...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...ich kept my optics free from all delusion, 
And show'd me what I in my turn have shown; 
All I saw farther, in the last confusion, 
Was, that King George slipp'd into heaven for one; 
And when the tumult dwindled to a calm, 
I left him practising the hundredth psalm. 


The first publication of this satire on Southey's poem A Vision of Judgement was under the nom de plume of Quevedo Redivivus in volume number 1 of The Liberal, a periodical edited by Leigh Hunt an...Read more of this...

by Schiller, Friedrich von flutters the garland of mirth.
See how yon markets, those centres of life and of gladness, are swarming!
Strange confusion of tongues sounds in the wondering ear.
On to the pile the wealth of the earth is heaped by the merchant,
All that the sun's scorching rays bring forth on Africa's soil,
All that Arabia prepares, that the uttermost Thule produces,
High with heart-gladdening stores fills Amalthea her horn.
Fortune wedded to talent gives birth there to childr...Read more of this...

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